Former army officer and chemical weapons expert Hamish de Breton-Gordon told Express.co.uk that a UN army could be sent in to seize grain from Ukraine, which is allegedly being stolen by Russian forces. He described the move as being a “realistic” option, as it would be less inflammatory than British or American troops being sent in alone. But Mr De Bretton-Gordon warned that such a move would “certainly” be seen as an escalation by the Kremlin.
If Russian forces attacked UN troops on the ground in Ukraine, the expert claimed that this would be seen as a “carte blanche” for NATO allies to go into Ukraine to push the Russians out.
As a result of NATO’s Article 5, the principle of collective defence, this could trigger a global conflict.
This comes amid mounting accusations that Russian forces in occupied areas of Ukraine have been systematically stealing grain and other produce from local farmers.
Ukraine’s agriculture minister Mykola Solskyi in April accused Russia of stealing “several hundred thousand tonnes” of grain, saying: “I personally hear this from many silo owners in the occupied territory.
“This is outright robbery.
“And this is happening everywhere in occupied territory.”
Speaking to Express.co.uk about the grain, Mr De Bretton-Gordon said: “I think this is going to become a bigger issue.
“I have a sneaking feeling NATO and other countries are looking to see how they can get that grain out of Ukraine and I think it is about time the UN put some troops on the ground to get that grain out.
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“It might even be that NATO is considering it
“Now that the world knows that Russia is actually stealing that grain – grain that is destined for the poorest people in Africa and Asia.
“Russia was never on any moral high ground but it is sinking so low now that it is almost prepared to do anything to try and gain ground.”
But Mr De Breton-Gordon warned: “It would certainly be seen by Putin’s forces as an escalation, absolutely.
“Which is why I think a United Nations army is the most realistic, and perhaps using troops from those countries who desperately need it in Africa and poorer countries in Asia.
“Certainly if we saw British troops, American troops on the ground, Putin would absolutely call foul.
“But if we see United Nations troops from Mali, then to me that would be absolutely fair enough – to me that wouldn’t be an escalation.
“But if Putin attacked US troops then that absolutely would be, and things are so finely balanced that it’s a risk worth taking.
“If Putin did attack UN troops then there would be carte blanche for NATO to shovel the Russians out of Ukraine.”